School nurses report students seek their help for a wide range of oral health issues including dental caries, tooth and oral pain, jaw abscesses, orthodontic concerns, and problems with oral piercings. Forty percent of school nurses report they encounter students who avoid smiling or laughing because of oral health problems.
Schools and school nurses can play a major role in enhancing students’ and families’ oral health. School nurses coordinate oral health education for students, parents and school staff. They are a resource for teachers for oral health curricula. School nurses conduct or facilitate oral health screenings and dental caries prevention programs. School nurses also assist families in locating and accessing treatment for oral health disease or dental injuries.
Since school nurses address a wide range of health concerns in large student populations in addition to oral health, a one stop location for oral health teaching resources, continuing education resources, and for locating partners and protocols for prevention and treatment programs was needed.